Different Forms of Communication

This is the social age where communication skills are often as important as your other professional skills and interpersonal traits. In most skill development curriculums, ‘communication’ is listed among the core soft skills that a person should have. Communication is the process through which a person shares information with others. In the digital era, communication has become a core area of attention for all business organizations while hiring their employees. What this also means is that a person must be well-versed with all types of communication as it will enhance his/her employability.

Let’s now go ahead and take a look at the different types of communication and the role they play in our lives:

Oral communication: Popularly referred to as ‘verbal communication’, it is a form of communication that takes place when we speak to a person or group of people. Verbal communication can be face-to-face, telephonic, via video calls through Skype or Zoom. Whether it is a casual chat with a friend, discussing a matter with the family, an office-water cooler gossip or an important business meeting, verbal communication plays a key role in almost all settings. A good communicator not only knows how to use the right and easy to understand words, but also to use the right intonation while speaking.

Non-verbal communication: It is not only the speech, but the accompanying actions and physical behaviour that also works as an effective form of communication. The facial expressions, eye gestures, eye contact, posture, hand movements, and touch etc are all effective means of non-verbal communication. In an office meeting, it is important to be attentive to the things being said. Similarly, looking down, avoiding eye contact, sighing, shrugging the shoulders and facial expressions are all indicative of emotions and convey the intent as well as interest of the speaker in the ongoing communication.

Written Communication: In the digital world, a diverse range of written communication options such as email, written documents, online reports, presentations, social media posts, blogs and articles etc can be used to disseminate information. The key to successful written communication is that it should be clear and concise. Poor writing skills can cause confusion and criticism as well as legal troubles in such cases where the content of the communication is copied from other sources. Thus, the written communication has to be well-written, relevant, informative and original, otherwise it could cause embarrassment as well as damage to the organizational reputation.

Listening: Typically, experts don’t list ‘listening skills’ as a type of communication. However, active listening is an invaluable type of communication since inability to listen properly, or attentively, can hamper the quality of communication. For instance, while discussing the terms of a business transaction, if you don’t listen to the others properly then you might misunderstand the terms, and the deal could turn into a failure.

Visual Communication: Today, we are living in an audio-visual society with round the clock programming on TV, live-streams on social media and numerous OTT platforms. Through all the visual and video content, businesses are selling products and ideas, but, amidst all this flood of content, only the well-created, meaningful, clear and engaging visual content goes viral whereas most of the routine messaging gets glossed over almost instantly. That’s where the visual communication has to be strategically crafted and emotionally relatable to the audience and their needs.

Communication is an ongoing and natural process for us. Throughout the day we engage in planned, unplanned, formal and reflex communication. Telling someone to pass on the water bottle, negotiating with the shopkeeper while buying a product, placing an order in a restaurant or making an announcement at a conference, these are all diverse types of communication.

However, being a good communicator requires self-analysis, and reviewing how you use various modes of communication, is essential. Sometimes, it is horizontal communication and at times vertical communication aimed at the hierarchy pyramid. Nervousness, excitement, lack of interest and many other non-verbal cues can be identified and eliminated by carefully analysing communication habits. This type of self-corrective approach is the best technique to overcome the barriers of communication!

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